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Aviation Accidents

What Is an Aviation Accident?

Accidents occur because of a variety of factors. These factors could include pilot error, manufacturing defects, structural or design problems, etc. The injured, decedents and survivors of family members involved in airplane accidents have rights regarding adequate compensation for injuries occurring from an airplane accident. 

Given the number of employees hired to care for planes and the level of attention dedicated to ensuring airline safety, airliners do not usually crash without negligence somewhere within the airliner's control. Common causes of airline accidents include, but are not limited to: pilot error, traffic control tower error, design/manufacturing error, fuel problems, bad weather or faulty maintenance.

Since commercial airliners are complicated machines with many different actors maintaining them, there may be more than one cause of the accident.

What Kinds of Claims Can I Bring If An Airline Accident Occurs?

The types of possible claims will differ from case to case depending on the type of accident. The most likely claims will be:

  • Negligence– someone was careless in taking care of the aircraft
  • Pilot Malpractice – although the pilots themselves may not survive the accident, these cases can be brought against the airliners themselves to encourage additional training to guard against future accidents
  • Product Liability – Design problems can be a cause of aircraft failure
  • Wrongful Death – only if a family member was killed by the accident

What Types of Damages are Recoverable?

Individuals that have been injured as a result of airplane injuries can be compensated in several ways. These include: 

  • Earning capacity that was lost as a result of injury
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering compensation

What Defenses Can the Airline Use?

To avoid liability, an airline may claim that the victim signed a waiver releasing the airline from liability. However, many states hold these waivers to be unenforceable, so you still may be able to sue.

Likewise, the airline may also claim that the accident occurred because of factors outside the airliner's direct control. A sudden change in weather can prevent even an experienced pilot from reacting in time. The pilot had a sudden medical emergency which caused a loss of control. Defenses based on causation, however, can only be used if the airliner couldn't foresee the cause before the plane took off.

Are All Airlines Sufficiently Insured?

Unlike the thousands of uninsured drivers on the road, commercial airlines must carry substantial insurance. As a consequence, airplane crash victims' families will almost never run into the problem of under-insured or uninsured at-fault parties.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death suit is a lawsuit brought by a family member of the deceased victim against the person or company who caused the death. In the case of a wrongful death caused by a plane crash, the victim's family would bring suit against the airline.

Can I Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Fatal Airplane Crash?

You can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with a fatal airplane crash. Generally, however, these lawsuits can only be brought by immediate family members of the victim. Some states allow extended family members to bring a lawsuit as well. You must bring the suit before the statute of limitations has run. A person may also bring a Death on the High Seas Act lawsuit against the airline if the crash happened over open water and far away enough from American soil.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your loved one died due to an airline accident, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. An experienced personal injury lawyer can explain the value of your case and help you navigate the complicated legal process.

Call our office today at 212-994-7777 or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.

What are Private Plane Crash Lawsuits?

Private planes are smaller airplanes that are used to transport smaller groups of people. Unlike larger commercial air flight, private aviation can sometimes be regulated less strictly. For instance, private plane owners can often perform basic repairs on their planes, whereas larger commercial airlines must be serviced by licensed mechanics. This can sometimes heighten the risks of crashes or accidents. Private plane crashes can involve serious injury and fatalities due to the smaller size of the plane.

In these cases, legal action may be filed to determine liability for the private plane crash, and to provide legal remedies for the injured or deceased parties.

Who can be Held Liable for a Private Plane Crash?

There can be many different factors that contribute to a private plane crash. Depending on these factors, liability may be found with different parties. One of the main factors in many private plane crashes is pilot error or negligence. If a pilot is found to have been negligent (for instance, disregarding proper flight safety laws), they may be held liable for injury to passengers and/or property damage caused by the crash. DUI (flying while drunk) can also be a factor in some cases.

In other cases, the crash may have been caused by some defect or failure with the airplane or its parts. Here, the manufacturer of the plane or the airplane parts might be held liable if it can be proven that there was some defect that caused the crash. In fact, in any plane crash, authorities will include the plane manufacturer as a party in the investigation, to determine if they can be held liable for defects.

In many cases, businesses rent out private planes for pilots to fly passengers in. Here, the business can be held liable if they know or should have known that one of their rental planes was defective, yet still provided the plane for rental usage.

Are there any Legal Remedies for a Private Plane Crash Incident?

As mentioned, private plane crashes can often result in a civil lawsuit. In these types of lawsuits, the remedy usually involves some form of monetary damages award to compensate the injured party for losses (or to compensate survivors). The damages may cover losses such as hospital and medical bills, lost wages, costs associated with property damage, and other losses.

In cases where many persons were injured by the same issue (such as a defective plane part), a class action lawsuit may be filed.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Private Plane Crash Lawsuit?

Aviation laws can be complex, and plane crashes can involve a number of different causes and factors. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need help with a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and representation throughout the process.